The US government is working towards a system where European citizens have the right to sue internationally if their data is mishandled.
US attorney general Eric Holder was speaking on the matter to European ministers at a meeting of home affairs and justice ministers in Athens, where he revealed that the plans are in motion.
"The Obama administration is committed to seeking legislation that would ensure that EU citizens would have the same right to seek judicial redress for intentional or wilful disclosures of protected information and for refusal to grant access or to rectify any errors in that information, as would a US citizen under the Privacy Act," he said, according to a report on the Guardian.
"This commitment, which has long been sought by the EU, reflects our resolve to move forward not only on the data protection and privacy agreement but on strengthening transatlantic ties."
European Commission vice president Viviane Reding has vocally opposed US PRISM-style snooping and its lack of transparency in the past. She expressed some pleasure on Twitter in response to the US move, but in a statement she added that while talk is good, action is better.
"The US administration is now announcing that it will take legislative action to fill the gap between the rights that US citizens enjoy in the EU today and the rights EU citizens do not have in the US – something which the Commission has been arguing for during the past three years. This is an important first step towards rebuilding trust in our transatlantic relations," she said.
"Now the announcement should be swiftly translated into legislation so that further steps can be taken in the negotiation. Words only matter if put into law. We are waiting for the legislative step."
Dave Neal is a reporter at The INQUIRER. Previously he worked at V3.co.uk, VNUnet, and IT Week in editor and journalist roles.
He started his career when the Y2K bug was a front page story and remains committed to covering the interesting world of technology news.
He left the world of office working four years ago and now represents The INQUIRER from home in Kent with his dog.
Dave has been quoted in papers including the London Metro.